Strategic content marketing is the mainstay of an organization’s search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, which is why it is important to have an effective strategy in place. Regardless of whether you’re just starting out with your business or you’ve been in the market for a number of years, developing an effective content marketing strategy should be a priority to take your business to the next level.
What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a strategic plan centered on creating valuable content that is relevant a specific target audience. This relevant content is designed to attract, engage and retain a clear demographic, which ultimately drives customer action.
The most prominent organizations in the world have recognized the value of content marketing, and have introduced it into their overall marketing strategies. Small and medium businesses must adopt similar approaches if they are to retain an increasingly fickle and well-informed audience.
Why is content marketing good for your business?
- It engages and retains a set of prospects that have the potential to convert into genuine customers for your business.
- It can lead to increased sales with more information available to readers.
- It can translate into savings for your business because of the cost-effective nature of running this strategy.
A good content marketing plan will generate and retain interest of prospects, which can generate leads, engage audiences and enhance brand recall.
Traditional And Digital Marketing Heavily Relies On Relevant Content
Traditional and digital marketing cannot perform effectively without good content. Companies send out information all the time, but is it relevant enough to make a difference to the target audience? Content marketing can turn regular words into impactful statements by generating relevant call-to-actions.
No matter what level of marketing you use for your business, content should be an integral part of the process, and should not be treated as something separate. Quality content can assist with all kinds of marketing – traditional and digital. Here’s how it can help:
- SEO – Search engines are always looking for good content, and reward organizations that publish high-quality, relevant content for readers.
- Social media marketing – Social media will only be scalable if users like the content you’re sharing for your business.
- Publicity and public relations – No PR strategy is complete without the right content to address issues that readers care about.
- Pay per click – Any PPC campaign can only be successful if you deliver good content to drive the right call to action.
- Advertising – Any ad campaign needs to be strengthened with good content to capture viewer attention.
- Inbound marketing – Good content can drive more traffic and leads to your website, by linking to authoritative sources and vice versa.
With all this in mind, it’s clear that content is the present and future of any marketing strategy for a business.
Creating A Great Content Marketing Plan
Businesses need a great content marketing plan to succeed in an increasingly competitive market.
Here are some tips to help you get started with one if you haven’t already:
Understand The Purpose Of Content Marketing
If you don’t understand the purpose of content marketing for your business, you will not succeed. Consider the following factors to help you better understand why you’re doing it and why you need it:
- What do you want to achieve with your business content marketing strategy?
- Do you want to build leads, sell a product or gain loyal subscribers?
- Are you looking to enhance brand recall and loyalty?
- What kind of retention rates are you looking for from prospects?
Every business will have a different objective – perhaps yours is to build brand awareness, while another business is looking to sell a specific product or service. Before you draw up a content marketing strategy, you need to establish your specific purpose to ensure that it is relevant. Begin with a few goals, and avoid being too ambitious at the start for the best results.
Establish Your Business Priorities
Set Your Priorities For Clear Direction
Consider what you need to prioritize when developing a content marketing plan before you actually begin. This will provide you with clear direction, and will help you work towards your goals more effectively. Consider the following:
- What kind of brand recall do you wish to convey?
- How can you better understand your audience?
- What is the tone of voice that your audience prefers?
- What kind of content is most relevant to your audience?
- How do you create reader engagement as a two-way communication platform, rather than just you delivering content?
Considering these factors will help you create more engaging content, which should ideally be a big priority for any business looking to scale up. Take the time to determine your specific business priorities, so that you can personalise your content marketing plans accordingly.
Define Your Organization’s Specific Call To Action Requirement
Any content marketing plan should be integrated with a desired call to action. Every business has a specific call-to-action they are looking to generate from their customers, which can differ from others. Consider your specific call-to-action requirements, which could be:
- Lead generation
- Lead nurturing
- Audience engagement
- Brand awareness and recall
- Customer loyalty and retention
- Developing brand advocates through customer evangelism
- Cross sell a variety of products and services
Once you have been able to clearly define your call-to-action requirement, you’ll be in a better position to write content relevant to it.
Understand The Audience You Are Writing Content For
Before you churn out thousands of words, you need to understand the audience you are writing for. Will they find enough value from the information or will they simply look past your content? Consider the channels your target audience follows most and write content relevant to them. Consider the following:
- What kind of age group does your audience fall under? Younger audiences may take to certain social media platforms, while older prospects may prefer others.
- What kind of buying behavior have you noticed from your audience? Some people may just be browsing for the future, while others may be present buyers.
- Is your audience price sensitive? Some buyers may be more enamoured with offers, while others may be looking for more premium products.
One of the biggest mistakes businesses make is that they end up throwing their audience into one group, but the reality is that this could affect the relevancy of your content strategy in the long run. Identify your audience personas and write content to satisfy them.
Consider A Mix Of Content Types To Retain Interest
Once you’re able to define and segment your target audience, you need to create a content strategy that caters to the needs of this group. While your personal strengths are important, a mix of content types will keep it fresh and original – enabling your readers to benefit from different types of content where you can demonstrate your superior knowledge. Consider the business you run and establish relevant content types for it. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Videos and infographics
- Interviews with experts
- Guides and ‘How To’ articles
- Webinars and podcasts
- Customised illustrations
- Industry news and frequently asked questions
- Product updates and surveys
- Blogs and opinion articles
A good rule of thumb is to focus on producing evergreen, original and fresh content every time, so that your readers remain engaged. In turn, Google and other search engines will reward you with higher SEO rankings.
Optimize Your Content Strategy To Resonate With Internet Searches
Searches on the Internet will help drive traffic to your website, so you need to develop a content strategy that caters to them specifically. Internet users typically use specific search phrases to find content useful to them. You need to identify phrases relevant to your industry, so that you can use them effectively in your content to appear in search rankings. Consider the following:
- Have you identified the keywords and keyword phrases used for your industry?
- Are you using relevant keywords to your users?
- Are you ranking high enough using the right keyword phrases?
- Does your content strategy adequately ensure that keywords and keyword phrases are covered?
- Can the keyword phrase match future content?
- Is the keyword phrase used in your domain name?
- Are you going to write the content yourself or are you better off hiring an expert that understands the importance of organic keyword phrasing?
- Can your brand voice reflect the keywords you’re optimising for?
Keywords are important when looking to rank your website for specific searches, so make sure you integrate this into your overall content marketing strategy for optimum results.
Content marketing is not just important from an SEO perspective, but it can also translate into real business results for the long term, especially when you consider how important good content is to consumers in today’s world. While you may come across failures, it’s important to learn from them and make changes to your advantage. You may need to alter your content strategy along the way, but testing and measuring your results is a surefire way to enhance the bottom-line of your business.